“We act as though comfort and luxury
were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need
to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Brokelyn is a webmag devoted to living the best possible life in Brooklyn regardless of one’s means. It was founded in 2009 as a post-crash survival guide by Faye Penn, a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers including New York Magazine, The New York Post, InStyle and Marie Claire, among others. Since then, Brokelyn has evolved into a general interest news destination whose irreverent mix of news and humor have made it the second most popular site in Brooklyn, following Brownstoner. (We try harder!) We also run apartment and event listings, host events and publish the wildly popular Brokelyn Beer Books. Find out how to advertise on Brokelyn here.
Brokelyn’s “angel investor” was a New York City cab driver named Susan who passed away in 2008. She was a scrapper and a news junkie whose cantankerous wit enlivened the letters pages of every newspaper in town. She was also a generous person with unique ideas about friendship. Thanks, Susan. We hope they have Wifi wherever you are.
Meet Team Brokelyn
From: Long Beach, NY. It’s ah, a long beach
Cheap BK activity: Eating free wings on Mondays at the Brazen Head. Listening to arguments drift in through my window. Also the Sol and tequila special at The Narrows has been known to cause feelings of invincibility. At least, it does for me.
When not Brokelyning, I get drunk and tweet things about the Mets and hockey, write the occasional short story and try to figure out why I’m not at Shea Stadium on any given day.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Writing for Brokelyn means free breakfasts on Thursdays. It’s not a secret anymore, but have you seen our guide to bars with free food? You’ll never grocery shop again. Splurge: MetroCards. I don’t care if it is public transportation, the subway is for rich people.
From: Beachwood, NJ. Please don’t call it the Jersey Shore.
Cheap BK Activity: The Rev. Vince Anderson’s weekly free show at Union Pool; terrifying levels of Simpler Times consumption.
When not Brokelyning, I… Write freelance stories for Inc. Magazine, the NY Post and anyone else who will have me; lounge about coffee shops.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: I graduated college years ago. Turns out, my college ID doesn’t have an expiration date, and therefore neither does my student discount eligibility. I’m not cheap about: buying a beer for friends in need, because I’ve been there before, and will be there again.
Faye Penn: Founder
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From: Framingham, MA., an utterly unrivaled mall town.
Cheap BK Activity: Riding back and forth on the Ikea ferry with contraband; walking around Ditmas Park pretending I’m in the Catskills.
When not Brokelyning, I… Work as Executive Editor of The New York Observer. Hang out with Papa Brokelyn and our three kids.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Cheapest secret: $8 eyebrow threading at Raheela’s Coney Island Avenue. Also, buying coffee beans at TJ Maxx. There’s way more than one splurge, but I’m going with highlights by Borja Cau. She’s a genius.
From: Annapolis, Md.
Cheap BK Activity: Biking down to Fort Tilden Beach and enjoying the free sun and surf.
When not Brokelyning, I…work in an office, as my pale complexion belies. I also co-edit a literary quarterly and complain loudly about hipsters to anyone who will listen.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: People will just hand you money on the street if you threaten them. Splurge: Books and notebooks of any kind. And handguns.
From: New Orleans, La.
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Going swimming after-hours in the playground fountains with my dog.
When not Brokelyning, I…: Try to go to the beach every weekend in the summer, hang with my dog, seek out seafood and soccer matches.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Making cut-offs at home, buying overalls at thrift stores; splurge: cold-brew iced coffee.
From: Canarsie (what happens when you fall asleep on the L), then Oceanside, NY (what happens when you fall asleep on the Belt Parkway)
Cheap BK Activity: Bocce at Union Hall. It’s only expensive if you’re a lush. So maybe this isn’t my cheap activity…
When not Brokelyning, I … write humor and sketch comedy, perform improv, host trivia nights, perform bhangra solos at gigantic Indian weddings, frequent K-Town for my karaoke/galbi fix, and recreate the last meal requests of Death Row prisoners. Currently trying to turn my backyard into a garden/outdoor theater.
Cheapest Secret, One Splurge: If you want to enhance your free Brooklyn Bridge Park movie with a pizza from Grimaldi’s, call and order for pickup and bypass the perennially long line. Give up alcohol in the month of February: No major holidays, and it’s still cold, so you have an excuse to stay in more. You’ll lose weight, get smarter, and save tons of money (true story). Splurge: Maker’s Mark. Also, anything that’s guaranteed FUN.
From: Toronto, Canada
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Outdoor flicks and cheap Kelso ale at Habana Outpost
When not Brokelyning, I… can be seen acting in shows that other people wrote, or in jazz bars writing my own, or at home making humus.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Other people’s Moving Day is when I assemble my wardrobe for the season. KURBALURT! Splurge: tickets for shows at BAM.
From: Manhasset, NY, also known as East Egg. Yes, I knew Gatsby.
Cheap BK activity: Getting a burrito ($6.50) and beer ($2) at Urban Rustic and sitting in McCarren Park watching people exercise.
When not Brokelyning: I’m drinking beer, talking about beer, or looking for the next bar to add to the Brokelyn Bar Guide.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Street shopping, and by that I mean picking up furniture and other gems (books, records, the occasional cash register) off the streets and putting them in my house. Splurge: Beer festivals; anything craft beer related.
From: Highland Park, IL. That part of Chicagoland the cult classic “Mean Girls” fictionally portrays
Cheap BK activity: Thrift shopping. Except the opposite way, where I sell old clothes and just look at things. I’m also a fan of long walks and loyalty cards.
When not Brokelyning: I freelance for a bunch of publications. I also write fiction, drink a lot of coffee and tea and watch a good amount of movies.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Asking coffee shops about their refill policy; many don’t have one, but will offer it out of confusion/kindness. I splurge on books because Brooklyn’s bookstores are fantastic and I don’t want them to be abducted by the internet.
From: Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Cheap BK Activity: You mean “activities,” right? Let’s pretend you mean “activities.” Free summer music shows; biking down Ocean Parkway (the oldest bike path in the country, did you know that?) to Coney Island and grabbing some sun; filling up on dirt cheap tacos from the Tacos El Bronco truck.
When not Brokelyning: I’m always on the lookout for great happy hours at places I haven’t been to yet, write as much as my free time allows, and complain about all the sports.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Get more taco for your buck: get a couple small ones instead if you can choose the size. Also, it’s probably not a secret, but the sound at the Prospect Park bandshell carries to the other side of the fence just fine if it’s a ticketed show. Splurge: I can’t help myself when I see a Mets t-shirt I like. Or a Mets hat. Anything Mets, basically.
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From: Woodhaven, East New York, Cambria Heights (the part of Queens no one realizes is still Queens)
Cheap BK activity: Biking the Belt/Shore Parkway Greenway at night when the Verrazano’s all sparkly
When not Brokelyning: I’m staring at people’s dogs but not actually owning a dog, complaining about the MTA
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Some of those free Shape Up NYC classes are pretty great, as in a weirdly empowering hour of Zumba with 50+ middle-aged women great. Splurge: Drinks beyond the happy hours
From: Brooklyn, NY
Cheap BK: Activity: Free comedy shows, volunteering at summer festivals for behind the scenes access and occasionally free t-shirts.
When I’m not Brokelyning: I write for my website, Super Harbor, take people on tours, question how I ended up living with pigeons at 30, you know the usual.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: I have two-the cheap bins at Michael’s for all your generic crafting needs (they have one in Brooklyn now) and art openings with free booze. Splurge: My one weakness is my hair- Curl’s Milshake that’s $18 for 8 ounces.
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Cheap BK Activity: Hunting. It requires patience and laser focus. It once took me over a year of stalking my prey, but I found THE perfect leather moto jacket at No Relation Vintage…for $20.
When not Brokelyning: Art directing & graphic designing at an agency for money. Making art and working on my ‘zine for love.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Always ALWAYS pick up books from the street. One man’s trash is my mother’s future birthday gift. I splurge on plane tickets. There’s so many places to see, and I want to order the cheapest beer available in all of them
Hometown: New Orleans, La. Proud to swim home.
Cheap BK activity: Check out the virtual gallery of free outdoor movie screenings, concerts, art openings. Or if you want to rekindle a love affair with the “great indoors” check out Barcade with 25-cent games and free water on tap.
When not Brokelyning: I stay busy with creative writing, fiction, essays, screenplays, cover letters, rent checks, and love letters to my girlfriend. Bar hopping Williamsburg, taking pics of strangers on the train…smile!
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Find a rooftop, a few friends, and buy one get the second bottle of wine for a penny at Lorimer Wine and Spirits (Lorimer and Grand). Splurge: A half gallon of whole milk, a pack of cigarettes, and live music!
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From: Palmyra, PA (Little town right next to Hershey. Lots of cows — Hershey smells better.)
Cheap BK Activity: Shopping at Buffalo Exchange. I once got 4 dresses and a costume viking helmet for under $50.
When not Brokelyning: I work in marketing by day; occasionally produce theatre by night. I also work on the screenplay I promise to one day finish, consistently almost win pub trivia and play with my BFF (my nephew, Donovan). I’ve also recently been inspired to potty train my cat, so there’s that.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: Find friends who willingly share their Netflix/Hulu Plus/HBO Go/Amazon Prime account information. Paying for cable is so old-fashioned. Splurge: Really, really good Scotch.
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From: Pleasanton, California. Yeah, it looks just like it sounds.
Cheap BK Activity: Heading to McCarren Park on a beautiful day and making a pit-stop at Turkey’s Nest to buy a margarita bigger than my head to drink illegally in the sunshine.
When not Brokelyning: I work as a writer and Advertising Executive at Golly Magazine. All of my jobs allow me to work from my couch in my kitty-covered mumu, for which I am eternally grateful.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: Become a regular at your neighborhood bar. They’ll treat you like royalty and give you all the free things. Splurge: Diamonds and caviar at the Ritz. Just kidding. But I am a sucker for really durable, really cute boots. One can never have too many boots.